Angeles mayor: Fast track infra projects

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Thursday, May 22, 2014


ANGELES CITY -- Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan and his chief-of-staff, Alexander Cauguiran, invited authorities from the region's Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and local contractors in a meeting last week to address issues regarding the "slow phasing and response" of the said agencies and companies regarding the city's several infrastructure projects.

The mayor and his chief-of-staff were completely distraught of the "red-tape" and other procedural quandaries, especially in the regional agencies, that seem to hamper the progress of the projects simultaneously being done in the city.

“The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit for 2015 is coming – but my biggest worry is that most of these projects might not be ready for the rainy season this July,” said the mayor, clearly agitated by the lack of prompt action from the agencies.

The mayor also acknowledged the numerous comments he is receiving via text and Facebook regarding the state of the infrastructure projects, which is why he wishes that the agencies would hasten the accomplishment of said roads.

"We are listening to the people, and we hear their concerns. We are also concerned about the development of these as well, thus, it was imperative for us to convene in this meeting," he said.

The infrastructure projects, which include the rehabilitation and widening of the Pandan-Magalang Road, West Circumferential Road, MacArthur Highway, Mon Tang Avenue, and planned roundabout at the Bayanihan Park are all set to ease the traffic situation and prepare the city for the APEC conferences next year.

Pandan-Magalang Road

Pandan barangay chairman Jerry Alejandrino said 16,000 people from his area are worried as they anticipate the upcoming rainy season, as their area may be flooded – and their concerns are further substantiated by the slow rehabilitation work of the DPWH and contractor JQG Construction on the road.

In their defense, Alexander Bognot, project engineer of JQG Construction responded by saying that they had several problems in the last few months, especially when a temporary restraining order on the trees along the construction prevented the agencies from moving forward.

After acquiring the permit to clear the obstructions, the construction saw the need to install a new drainage system there, as the road is known to be prone to flooding during the rainy seasons. They are now currently working on digging 31 holes for drainage purposes, having done 15 as of writing.

Bognot also said that they have only received the rehabilitation design regarding the next phase of construction last Monday from the DPWH.

As for the target completion of the project, Bognot said that the July 16 deadline unfortunately won’t be met due to said challenges.

He however promised that with continuous coordination meetings with the DPWH, that they will fast-track the construction.

The project engineer also stated that some trees are still in the way of the 15-meter road widening plan.

With the mayor’s demand, the DENR has already released a permit to clear out any obstructions in the area if necessary.

However, there are still some electric posts from Angeles Electric Corporation that need to be taken care of. Pamintuan has already reached the AEC to ask their plan. He suggested that, while construction is ongoing, AEC might as well install their lines underground.

Another option for AEC would be to purchase the lots where they can install their posts. Currently, the electric company is deciding on these two options.

West Circumferential Road

JQG Construction is also in charge of the widening and drainage rehabilitation of the West Circumferential Road (from Panings to Westfields Elementary School) in Barangays Sto. Domingo and Cut-cut. This project has already been completed.

The second phase of the project covers road construction from Westfields to Korean Town in Barangay Anunas. Rehabilitation is ongoing.

Street lights will also be installed along this road. According to Rolando R. Gonzales, a project engineer of DPWH, they are currently in the process of bidding and are surveying the area which will eventually determine the number of lights needed.

A memorandum-of-agreement (MOA) will also be forged between the DPWH and the city government upon project completion which will identify the latter as the one to shoulder the electrical expenses and maintenance of the said lights.

MacArthur Highway

Constituents should expect the widening of McArthur Highway (covering Barangays Sto. Domingo to Ninoy Aquino) by CICO construction. Some obstructions are still in the way in the form of trees, however, the permit by the DENR has already been released to clear these said obstructions.

Eventually, bicycle and pedestrian lanes will be installed along the highway, and the City Engineers Office is preparing the necessary funding for the purchase of Thermo Plastic Equipment to be used on painting the said bike and pedestrian lanes.

Along Balibago

As of writing, the drainage system along Pulung Maragul to Don Bonifacio Subdivision is 100 percent complete, and is currently in the “curing” stage which will be done in around two weeks time. Haidee Construction is involved in this drainage rehabilitation.

Haidee Construction, together with BP Cruz Construction and Trading, is also involved in the widening and drainage repair of the highway, which covers Mon Tang Avenue.

Expected completion of the project will be on October 24, 2014. As with the Pandan-Magalang road, the mayor’s efforts have prompted the DENR to release the permit for the clearing of obstructions in the area.

Construction of the Balibago Pedestal Overpass (near Systems Plus College Foundation) by Northern Builders is also ongoing and will be completed on June 19, 2014.

Other Beautification Projects

Apart from infrastructure projects, the local government is also in the process of “face lifting” the different views one can see when traversing Angeles.

A dual-purpose project comes in the form of the Clark Roundabout by Clark Development Corporation (CDC), which looks to ease traffic in the area, while at the same time, beautify it. The project is currently for bidding and is expected to complete December this year.

The mayor, however, insisted to have the project fast tracked. Frank Madlambayan, CDC’s Vice President for Operations positively responded, saying that they will have the project done by November.

Another project of CDC is the greening and beautification of the perimeter fence covering Fields Avenue to Friendship. The design concept by the local government was submitted to CDC last April 21.

According to the mayor, this project aims to provide a view of the different hotels, restaurants and businesses in Angeles whilst driving through Clark. Madlambayan, for his part, promises that he will hold a meeting with concerned authorities to fulfill their part in the project.

The city is also set to construct an open-type Sundial Garden/Mini-Cultural Center at the Bayanihan Park. Designed by Nikki Reyes, this garden will stand as another monument for the city. Completion is expected later this year.

Plaza Anghel is expected to be done on June 30, 2014. Angeleños will expect to see a park, designed sidewalks, a trellis, water features and other landscaped views once completed. A coffee shop at the city library will also rise, with a Kapampangan art concept. It will also serve as the official Angeles City Tourism Info Center.

Finally, Plaza Matua at the San Nicolas Market will feature improve the view of the market with several designs, water features and wall art. The plaza will relocate the PNP Community Police Assistance Center, remove the rotunda and rehabilitate the market restroom. It is expected to be completed later this year. (AC-CIO with reports from the Office of Strategic Management)

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on May 23, 2014.

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